Saturday, July 22, 2017

Chester Bennington

By: Selina

I don’t normally do this, especially for people outside of the movie industry, but I’m making an exception.

I could say that Chester Bennington counts toward the movie business due to his parts in Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010), Crank (2006), and Crank: High Voltage (2009), but that still wouldn’t be the reason I’m breaking from Trust the Dice’s normal film-core. The truth is much simpler than that.

Although we don’t really cover music in this blog, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a significant effect on our lives. Cat goes to concerts relatively constantly and I grew up in love with bands that helped me feel anything but what I was forced to feel.

As one part of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington has been an absolute constant in my life. I’ll be honest, I don’t have many of those. Constants, where people are concerned, are those that can be counted on to always be there to a point where not a single doubt occurs in one’s mind. I have three of those at this point in my life, but when I was a teenager that number was effectively zero. My constants could only come in the form of entertainment.

Linkin Park was one of those constants that I could count on.

“It’s just a band.”

People say things like that, but they’re wrong. Obviously, I didn’t know Bennington personally. As cool as that would have been, I don’t feel that’s a requirement to grieve his death.

I was sixteen-years-old when Linkin Park came out with Hybrid Theory. I had been suffering for three years at that time. There was no naivety left for me, no childhood. The world was a bleak place and I was dealing with everything alone. My mother was so fed up with my inability to open up that she was convinced I was using or dealing drugs. Despite experimentations, that was never the case… but home life was no longer a break from the rest of the terrible world.

When I was thirteen, I was sexually assaulted by a man that lived in my neighborhood. I pressed charges, but the police officers treated me like a criminal and the prosecutor continuously, and publicly, dragged me out of class every single day. On top of that, she was cruel. It got to the point where I had to agree to let him plea because no one wanted to deal with it. Meanwhile, whenever his girlfriend ran into me on the street she verbally assaulted me however she could.

It was around that time that a friend of mine killed himself. He was a good guy that I greatly admired. 

I stopped bothering with school. I was depressed and embarrassed. I felt guilty and as if I were worth nothing. I quit dance class and I hid in my room whenever possible.

Teenage me didn’t handle things well. My mom kept putting me into therapy with these “world-renowned” psychologists that couldn’t earn so much as an iota of my trust. She wound up spending money we didn’t have on sessions where the therapists would do their busy work while I sat there staring at a wall for an hour.

I was in a dark place. I can’t even logically express just how dark. The few friends I had made in early high school didn’t last long – though that wasn’t such a bad thing. They weren’t the greatest people in the world.

The first time I heard Linkin Park, the song was “One Step Closer” and I latched onto it like it was as necessary as air. I bought Hybrid Theory the moment I had the money and listened to it on repeat for months. I would scream along with each song at the top of my lungs. I’m sure it pissed off all my neighbors spectacularly… but every time I screamed I felt a little better.

I honestly believe that album was instrumental to getting me to a point where I felt ready to open up. It wasn’t the only factor, but I think it was a very large one.

It wasn’t long after that when I agreed to meet with someone at the Jewish Board of Family Services. They funded a school for teenagers with emotional problems, Thomas Askins. The one requirement for that school was that I had to go to therapy to be enrolled. I started talking to a woman that was just starting out as a therapist, I was her first client. She earned my trust within days. Through that school I met one of the people that would become a constant in my life and my mother and I were able to begin mending our relationship.

Would Thomas Askins have worked out if I wasn’t so read to open up? No, I don’t believe it would have.

Since then, whenever I have been at my lowest, I listen to Linkin Park. Not always their first album, a lot of their stuff has the same effect on me as Hybrid Theory did.

Recently, when I had the suicidal ideation side effects from one of my medications, “Heavy” was a song that clicked with me like nothing else had in a very long time.

Chester Bennington’s death was a huge shock. He has touched so many lives. I know of many people that have stories like mine where Linkin Park’s music gave them the strength they needed to fix themselves.

I don’t think I need to know Bennington personally to mourn him. He’s done more for me without knowing my name than people who share my blood have. He was a muse to this world and a savior to so many. I can only hope he knew that.

Rest in peace, Chester. And thank you, for everything.

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